Bishop Hill invites you to join in the Lucia Nights celebration on Friday December 12 and Saturday December 13 from 6 to 9 p.m. This Swedish tradition is based on a legend of Saint Lucia, Queen of Light. During a famine in Sweden, on the longest and darkest night of the year, Lucia appeared wearing a long white robe and encircling her head was a crown of candles. Legend has it that Lucia appeared on a ship laden with food. When the ship was unloaded, both it and Lucia vanished. Girls today wake their families on December 13th carrying a tray of Lucia buns while dressed in a white robe and wearing a crown of candles.

Lucia Nights begins with the Lighting of the Park Christmas tree at 6 p.m. on Friday, December 12. The public is invited to bring edible ornaments to hang on the tree. Attractions include free musical performances in various locations in town.  Businesses and museums will have a Lucia girl serving cookies. Around the village, each building will have a single candle in each window, and sidewalks will be illuminated. Special Christmas gifts will also be on sale.

On both Friday and Saturday evenings, Bishop Hill will be hosting a wide range of activities. The Peoria Cooperative Academy Chorale will be performing in VagnHall Galleri at 6 p.m., with the Mountain Men following at 7 p.m. In the Welcome Center from 6 to 9 p.m., storyteller Brian “Fox” Ellis will be sharing traditional Swedish and Pioneer Christmas stories, mixed with a sing-a-long of many of your favorite carols. At the Steeple Building, Hammer and Pick will be playing from 6 to 9 p.m., with woodcarving demonstrations going on as well.  In addition, the Bishop Hill Community United Methodist Church will host the annual Soup and Chili Supper beginning at 4:00 p.m. until they run out. A free-will donation is appreciated to cover the cost of the meal.

On Saturday, December 13 only, there will be an Old Fashioned Barn Dance at the Colony School beginning at 7 p.m. The Rusty Pickup String Band will be performing. All dances taught and called by Gail Hintze and Jim Hicks. Admission is $5 per person, and beginners are welcome. No partner is necessary.